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# The Peninsula Airport Commission Welcomes New Member

## Newport News City Council Removes Former Member and Appoints Business Executive

The Peninsula Airport Commission has undergone a significant change with the removal of former City Council member Sharon Scott and the appointment of business executive John Lawson II. The Newport News City Council unanimously voted to remove Scott and replace her with Lawson, the executive chairman of W.M. Jordan Company, for the remainder of her term, which ends on May 23, 2024.

This sudden shake-up caught Scott by surprise, as she was not notified of the council’s decision despite attending a council meeting on the same day. Scott expressed her disappointment and stated that she did not want to be removed. The move to oust her from the commission came out of nowhere for her.

The decision to appoint Lawson was met with optimism by one airport commission member, who believes his business prowess will be valuable in making important decisions for the struggling Newport News/Williamsburg Airport. Lawson’s expertise will contribute to revitalizing the airport, which has been facing financial difficulties and a decline in passengers and airline service. Notably, the commission recently fired its former executive director.

The new member, John Lawson II, brings a wealth of experience as the executive chairman and majority owner of W.M. Jordan Co., a prominent construction management firm based in Newport News. He has been involved with the Newport News/Williamsburg Airport in the past, having negotiated a million-dollar deal to build a private airplane hangar at the airport in 2018.

Lawson’s appointment comes at the recommendation of the chair and vice chair of the commission, Lindsey Carney Smith and Thomas “Tommy” Garner, respectively. Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones asserts that the airport is vital to the city, and having strong, business-minded individuals on the commission is crucial. He encourages those with concerns to address them with the chair and vice chair directly.

While the decision has raised questions about Scott’s removal, Garner, the commission’s vice chair, clarified that he did not make a request for her removal. He emphasized that Scott is a capable individual and stated that he would never request someone’s removal from a board. Scott herself expressed her disappointment and mentioned the recent departure of the city manager, implying that such shake-ups are not unexpected.

The Peninsula Airport Commission currently comprises six representatives, four from Newport News and two from Hampton. Its responsibilities include economic development and the day-to-day affairs of Newport News/Williamsburg Airport. The commission aims to bring in more flights and transform the airport into a valuable asset for the community.

In recent years, the airport has faced numerous challenges, including a sharp decline in passenger numbers and the discontinuation of services by Avelo Airlines. Financially, the airport has experienced a shortfall in revenue due to fewer anticipated airline passengers. The firing of the executive director earlier this year was an attempt to bring in new leadership and attract more commercial air service.

Lawson is determined to help the airport change its course and make a positive impact. He acknowledges the importance of addressing any conflicts of interest and commits to recusing himself if necessary. Before officially joining the commission, Lawson must undergo a background check.

Apart from Smith and Garner, the commission includes Jay Joseph from Hampton and former Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, who was appointed in June. One commissioner, Brian Kelly, resigned abruptly in January due to disagreements regarding the board’s direction with the former executive director. Hampton City Council has yet to fill Kelly’s seat.

These changes at the Peninsula Airport Commission signify a new direction for the struggling Newport News/Williamsburg Airport. With the expertise and business focus of John Lawson II, the commission aims to overcome financial challenges, increase airline service, and position the airport as a valuable asset for the community.

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The AI legalese decoder tool can assist in this situation by providing a simplified explanation of the legal processes involved in the removal and appointment of members to the Peninsula Airport Commission. It can break down complex legal terminology and concepts into plain language, making it easier for the public to understand the decision-making process and the implications of these changes. Additionally, the tool can clarify any potential conflicts of interest that may arise and provide guidance on how such conflicts can be addressed to ensure transparency and accountability within the commission.

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